We have received confirmation from two 100% proven sources that next Tuesday's UK-only Apple event will herald the iPhone's arrival to the United Kingdom. The first European iPhone will most probably arrive in mid- to late-October, not on November 1, as some media outlets have previously reported. Our sources are the same ones from when we broke the news of the secret meeting between Steve Jobs and Telefonica/O2's President Cesar Alierta and said Bollocks! to all the earlier rumors. Unofficially confirmed, but we stand by this one.
@NZRUSS: It's not that they're not allowed to be locked to a carrier, it's that the carrier has to allow the phone to be unlocked and may charge a fee to do so. If the phone is sold with a contract, standard early termination charges are the remaining fixed monthly payments on the contract.
In short, you have the right to use an iPhone on any carrier that lets you, but you have to pay the purchase price, the full contract value and an unlocking fee to do so.